Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A brief morning-after report

Despite predictions of bad weather that actually materialized during the meeting, about 70 concerned Hampshire County citizens braved the elements to attend our showing of the movie "Gasland," about the effects of drilling for natural gas, at the Romney library last night. Even with four-wheel drive and driving slow, I had two slight spinouts on my way home, so I hope everyone made it home safely.

The audience ranged from industry-defending fundamentalists to Gaia-worshipping treehuggers, but the discussion was serious and invariably respectful. The presence of both Republican county commission president Bob Hott, and Democratic county prosecutor Steve Moreland, illustrated that this is an issue where the interest and concern crosses all partisan lines.

Windy Cutler will have a full report on the meeting coming up soon here at the Independent, so stay tuned. Our speaker, Brent Walls, Upper Potomac Manager for Potomac Riverkeeper, did a terrific job, displaying both expertise and endurance despite being totally socked by a cold he got from his kids. Anything he didn't know, our HCIN resident expert on gas drilling, Jim Dodgins, did, so from our perspective it was a very successful discussion.

Thanks to everybody who made this event happen, especially Brent and head librarian Amanda Snyder, and most of all that famously civic-minded librarian, Pat Henson, who opened the place up for us on her day off, and let us talk as long as we wanted. We didn't even have to lock her in the employee bathroom.

The one thing I can say with certainty is that Hampshire County citizens will continue to work on this issue, to try to make sure that the "Marcellus Shale gold rush" does not overwhelm us here. We'll keep you posted.

--Michael Hasty

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